Foster Care Parent Program
For details about being a foster parent, please contact Elon Homes’ Program Director James Johnson at (704) 604-0319 or (980) 242-0064.
Elon Homes provides licensed foster home for children who do not have special (therapeutic) needs and who are in the custody of a county Department of Social Services (DSS) in North Carolina. We are licensed as a foster care provider by the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services.
As new children enter our foster care program, we need the help of families willing to foster them. The shelter and care you provide can profoundly change a child’s life.
As one of our foster parents explains, “The few modest blessings one has… most significantly the ability to provide simple love and support… are exactly what a foster child needs. The reward far outpaces what one gives, and you know you’ve helped a child begin the road to a better life.”
As you consider becoming a foster parent, please review the important information below that covers:
- The support you will receive from Elon Homes
- Eligibility requirements
- Home requirements
- The required Foster Parent Certification License
- Key considerations for foster parents
Elon Homes Provides Support to Foster Parents
- Around the clock on-call response by our trained professional staff
- Contact by foster care staff with foster parents weekly
- Monthly certified training and family skill-building programs
- Monthly financial assistance to contribute toward the child’s expenses, such as food, shelter, clothing, transportation, school supplies, etc.
Foster Parent Eligibility
- Over 21 years of age
- Single, married, widowed, separated and divorced persons
- A high school diploma or GED
- Pass a criminal background check with finger prints for each adult household member age 18 and older; NO FELONY CONVICTIONS FOR ANY HOUSEHOLD MEMBER
- Steady employment with sufficient income to support the foster child(ren). A parent must be at home in the evening hours; supervision is required at all times.
- All household members must be in good health (physical exams required for all; TB skin tests required for those age 18 and older)
- Three written references for each adult in the home, plus employment verification
- 30 hours of pre-service training for each adult age 21 and older in the home (Model Approach to Partnerships in Parenting/Group Preparation & Selection)
- Demonstrated ability to parent children (as shown through the selection process, i.e. training, in-home family consultations, and references, etc.)
Foster Home Requirements
- Adequate space to accommodate each child. Bedrooms must be child-friendly and may be shared under certain conditions, as monitored by the agency.
- Fire and environmental safety inspections of the home and yard
- Neighborhood, yard, structure and contents are safe and clean
- Three consultations in the home and office prior to licensure
- Universal Precautions, First Aid and CPR Certification for the applicant parents prior to licensure
- A home licensed as an in-home day care cannot also be licensed for foster care
Elon Homes’ Foster Parent Licensure Program
Every adult household member age 21 and older in a foster home is required to complete the state-mandated, 33-hour pre-service Foster Care Orientation and Model Approach to Partnerships in Parenting/Group Preparation & Selection (MAPP/GPS) training in full. Elon Homes provides this required training. Please carefully review our training policy below:
Foster Care Program Training Policy:
- Pre-Service Training
- Every adult household member age 21 and older is required to complete the state mandated, 33-hour pre-service Foster Care Orientation and Model Approach to Partnerships in Parenting/Group Preparation & Selection (MAPP/GPS) training in full. Turning in the assignment, “Strengths/Needs Assessment”, for each meeting is necessary to obtain credit for completing that meeting.
- Attendance at each scheduled session is required. If a session is missed, it must be made up at another date. However, training may not be offered again for several months, which would delay the licensure process.
- In addition to the Foster Care Orientation and MAPP/GPS training, every licensed foster parent in the household is required to complete the following training prior to beginning foster care services:
- Adult, Child & Infant CPR
- Standard First Aid
- Medication Administration / Universal Precautions
- North Carolina Interventions (NCI) – Prevention Part A
- Shared Parenting
- At our discretion, Elon Homes will accept training certificates of completion from other agencies and resources. However, if we feel an applicant needs further skill development, we may require that individual to attend additional training.
- Elon Homes will not release training certificates prior to licensure. If a foster family transfers their license to another agency within the first twelve months of licensure, we will not release training information to the new agency.
- Active Foster Parent Training
- Each individual licensed foster parent is required to attain twenty or more in-service training hours within the bi-annual (2-year) licensure period. Elon Homes will not re-license a foster home that has not met this training requirement.
- It is the responsibility of each individual foster parent to maintain current certification in CPR, First Aid, and Medication Administration / Universal Precautions
- All Scheduled Training
- Children are not permitted to attend training. Due to the subject matter, limited space and potential distraction, we are unable to accommodate children.
- Training doors close 15 minutes after the scheduled start time. No exceptions. If a participant arrives more than fifteen minutes late, they will not be admitted into training and must reschedule for a later date.
Foster Parent Considerations
A prospective foster parent has much to consider, both positive and potentially challenging. On the positive side, the privilege of helping to develop a young person’s life has priceless rewards. Witnessing the change from an angry child to a happier child and knowing you helped in that journey are rewarding to the heart and soul. The awesome accomplishment of restoring hope for that child’s future is better than any trophy or gold medal. All are possible rewards of a successful foster care relationship.
Consider the commitment. To agree to provide foster care is to agree to welcome a stranger into your home. This type of a commitment must have support by all members of the foster family.
A foster child may need more time and attention from you than your other children because of this child’s exposure to rejection, instability and emotional upheaval. The child may suffer from the abuse and neglect and so it will take time for the child to build up trust. The child may act out feelings of rage, confusion, frustration and abandonment through bizarre behavior. A foster child may imitate some of the gross behavior s/he has experienced and it may be shocking to the unprepared foster family. Helping a child to progress and overcome past horror is very time consuming.
In addition, it may take significant time to drive the child to appointments and activities. You will also invest time in making phone calls to therapists, doctors and the caseworker.
Consider the impact this child might have on you and your family. You will have one more person to pick up after, do laundry for and to cook for. Will your children resent the time and attention you must give to the foster child?
What kind of an influence will the foster child be on your children? Maybe your children will mimic behaviors of the foster child to which you object. Your children may become aware of the existence of cruelty in this world.
On the positive side, your children might also learn what it is to truly care about another human being. They may learn more about compassion and understanding. Your children may even come to appreciate their own lives and circumstances a little bit better.
Consider the impact on your privacy. Many people will become involved in your life. A foster child is not the only one who will enter your life. Child Protective Services, biological parents, case workers, social workers, therapists, and attorneys will all play a role in the care of your foster child.
Inconveniences and frustrations do occur. For example, you arrange your schedule to accommodate a foster child’s appointment with a therapist or a visitation with the biological parent only to have that appointment canceled at late notice. If you are unlucky, you may encounter non-professionalism such as forgotten phone calls; disruptive, unannounced visits without regard to your personal schedule; and informational neglect and mistakes.
Consider the risks to you and your family. A bitter foster child may make a false allegation against you or one of your family members. A child may be destructive and cause damage to your property. Severe cases may pose emotional and physical danger to your family. These are all reasons why it is important to get complete information and ask as many questions about the history of your potential foster child. Things don’t always work out.
Consider your feelings. A heart that is big enough to let a foster child in may risk attachment to that child. Your big heart may break when your foster child leaves. You may set yourself up to experience feelings of failure or anger if things do not work out.
Resa Mallet, a family therapist with the Omaha Psychiatric Association, believes it is important for a foster parent to maintain a professional attitude toward providing foster care. She believes it is important to acknowledge the difference between parent and foster parent. Foster parents follow a different set of realistic expectations toward a child than do biological parents.
Foster parents and therapists make the following recommendations for people considering the responsibility of foster parenting:
- Know why you want to provide foster care.
- Evaluate the skills you have that qualify you to provide foster care: patience, time, and abilities to cope with the complications and problems the foster child is suffering.
- Allow the child plenty of transition time. A newcomer to a strange home does not adapt over night.
- Make certain your expectations for the foster child are realistic and reasonable. These children have been through a lot, and they need support and understanding in a loving, nurturing environment.
- Take advantage of the support available to you. Ask your caseworker for help and advice.
- You must have patience and compassion.
- Foster care is a very important job. It is not an easy job.
- Happy endings do not always happen. The reward is in the ‘doing’ of this job.
- Check your motives. Are you doing this for the child or for yourself?
- Be realistic about the time you can give to foster care and about the skills you do or do not have.
Foster parenting is not for you if . . .
- You are impatient. It takes a great deal of patience and commitment to be a foster parent.
- You are a perfectionist. A person who is inflexible will not make a good foster parent. A foster child brings his or her own perceptions of family life and values. The child needs to feel accepted for who s/he is. Boundaries need to be clear and established. However, a foster parent must understand the child’s resistance to rules and ‘family ways’ is the likely result of his or her non-chosen situation and not a result of stubbornness.
- You want a second income. State compensation is small in comparison to the demands of this job.
- You are looking for religious converts.
- You are looking to compensate for your feelings of inadequacy or you crave a distraction to an unhappy, unstable life.
- You regard all foster children and their families as dysfunctional and untrustworthy.
Thinking of becoming a foster parent?
Then take the NC Online Orientation…
A key step for those considering foster parenting.
- Easy to Find. Simply go to http://ncswlearn.org/foster or click on the button.
- Fast: Takes about 15 minutes. No registration required.
- Super Helpful. Explains foster care, describes the children in need of foster homes, and tells you how to take the next step to becoming a licensed foster parent in North Carolina.
- Certificate of Completion. At the end, print your certificate of completion and share it with the foster care agency you choose to work with.
*Orientation for NC Foster parents was developed by the NC Division of Social Services in partnership with the Jordan Institute for Families at the UNC-Chapel Shill School of Social Work, the NC Foster and Adoptive Parents Association, and North Carolina’s foster care agencies.